Anti Lacey bias still exists

November 15th, 2019 by Ken

It was hard for me to comprehend, but it was brought back to me in a way that set me back on my heels.   An anti-Lacey bias still exists in this greater community of ours.

I’m a member of the Thurston County Historical Commission.  We are appointed by the county commissioners to represent their districts.  I was appointed to my job by Thurston County Commissioner Gary Edwards to represent the Second Commissioner District composed primarily of the eastern section of the county, generally Lacey and Yelm.

I’ve only been on the job about two years.  Before I was appointed, the commission created, helped write, and published a history of Thurston County.  Many local historians and writers contributed to the book.

For the last six months, the book has sat in a secure location somewhere in the county courthouse.  Some questions existed as to who should be allowed to sell the book and how that would come about.

I saw a copy of the book one time for about three minutes.  It’s a beautiful hard-covered, well-produced and colorful history of Thurston County.  With just a quick thumb-through, I think it covers all of the communities of the county.   As I understand it, some 500 copies were printed.  Some 30-40 copies have been distributed to various individuals, primarily to those who had a hand in writing and producing the book.

The commission finally decided to ask for applications from those wishing to sell the book.  Certain criteria had to be met, which restricted the sale and distribution to local government agencies and non-profit historical groups with a tax ID number.

There were only two applicants – – the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum – – and the City of Lacey and the Lacey Museum.

Of course I argued strongly that the Lacey museum should get the books and pointed out the history of the museum, its professional and paid staff and the fact that only Lacey had a museum and a secure place to store the books.

The only argument against Lacey was just that.  It was Lacey.  One of the commission members said, “This is a county history book”  That of course implied to me, that Lacey was still seen as an insignificant player in Thurston County.  And, further, that Lacey had no history.

I was the only representative for Lacey and the eastern part of the county.  The other commission members present were from Districts 1 and 3, which both encompass Olympia.  I couldn’t get enough support to give the books to the Lacey museum.  They also weren’t comfortable awarding the books to the Olympia applicant.

As of this writing, the books still sit somewhere in the county courthouse, while members of the Thurston County Historical Commission determine if Lacey is really a part of Thurston County.

Posted in The Real News

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